Richard Mitchell at SPY

It would be hard to pick out one feature of my placement that I would consider the highlight of the two weeks. This is simply because there were too many! I suppose one of my favourite things was building relationships with the kids at the camp and going from not knowing them one day to messing about with them and calling them your friends the next. It was one of the most rewarding things to get on with the kids to the point where they just want to come up and talk to you or they want you to play some game with them. Pretty much all the kids who I met were so friendly and a lot of fun as well as well mannered and respectful. I think that this reflects on all the youth workers and SPY itself.

I learnt so much from everyone at SPY and all the youth workers who were at Linnet Clough in relation to communication and social skills with kids as well as a lot about leadership. Just watching and listening to the way that they speak to the kids and deal with any issues that occur is the best education that I could have got and I feel a great deal more able when working with groups now than I did at the start of the placement. Pete and Adnan in particular were great as they always made sure I was doing something that would benefit me and were always willing to explain anything so that I would learn from it. Though this was the case they were also quite prepared to give me a severe amount of stick for being the posh boy from down South as were all the youth workers in fact! It was a lot of fun and I learnt very quickly that you had to give a bit back to survive. In all seriousness though it was a real education for me to come up to Manchester and work with these kinds of people who in all honesty were from a completely different social background. I hadn't ever really had a lot of contact with Asians before and it was really good to learn about there religion and culture and Adnan in particular was good to talk to about it. I suppose it would be fair to say that I wasn't really interested in learning about asian culture before my placement as it was something that I had never come across but after my placement it makes me feel bad about my preconceptions of such things and the naïve view that many take over it.

In the same way as some of the workers were unsure about me coming up here to work due to their judgements over the fact that I was supposedly a posh boy I too was nervous and unsure how I would get on and be received. Thanks to my placement I've learnt that these kinds of judgements, though often natural and unavoidable, should not determine your relationships with others.

In summary, my views on SPY are that it is a well run charity that is dedicated to providing the best possible help and support to local people who require it. My one criticism, which is merely supported through conversations that I have heard, would be that the determination of the members to help others and their general good will can at times lead to the charity being taken advantage of when they could be making more money for the help that they offer. The fact that my only real criticism of SPY is that the charity and its management is in effect too kind reiterates how highly I view the charity and everyone associated with it. I have learnt so much during my placement and thank everybody for it but in particular Pete, Karl and Adnan for looking after me and I would love to find myself back up North with them again.

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